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Remote access solution puts builder's office at the jobsite

How a construction management company used IT consulting to give them a competitive advantage.

An aging IT infrastructure was slowing the operations of a local construction management firm, rather than advancing their business.

Applications could no longer be updated to current, supportable versions and were not performing acceptably. The client knew it was time to upgrade their equipment, and also wanted to move more of their workflow outside of the office, so workers could be more efficient and productive in the field.

When Kelser first met with the company, it was clear that they were looking to develop an IT strategy that supported their business objectives. In order to honor this request, Kelser interviewed the major functional areas to determine business plans, strategies and pain points so that a coherent set of solutions could be presented which would enable the company’s overall strategy.

From the interviews, we came up with two major areas of focus: remote worker enablement and infrastructure modernization. The goal of remote worker enablement was to allow their staff to work from the jobsite as easily and productively as they could from the home office. This goal was met by designing and implementing a Horizon View environment, which is VMware’s virtual desktop (VDI) solution. View allows the client’s staff who are not in the office to remotely access and run the applications that they need to perform their job functions.

The second major focus area was upgrading their applications to the latest versions, which required upgrades of the server and storage environment. A new VMware ESX environment, built on HP hardware, was the foundation for the infrastructure currency part of the work. While reviewing upgrade paths for the applications, we jointly determined that rather than upgrading the in-house Exchange email environment, there would be more value derived from moving to Microsoft’s cloud hosted email service, Office 365. Office 365 enabled the employees to access their email from a variety of devices while greatly reducing the manpower and resources needed to run the email environment.

Many of their on-jobsite processes that were paper based are now electronic. For example: the company offers a service to their subcontractors that allows them to view 3D scans of jobsites that can be used to check and verify measurements. In a simple example, this technology can be used to “measure” an opening for a new window in a renovation project without actually having to go to the jobsite to physically measure. Because subcontractors can work more efficiently when given access to the 3D scans, they prefer working with general contractors or construction managers that offer access to them.

The client now views technology as a business enabler. It’s helped them to win new business based on their unique capabilities to work remotely and to perform existing work with peak efficiency. It has helped them to carve out a unique place in their market. We continue our work with them every month – keeping the environment patched and current, as well as providing strategic advice as they make technology decisions related to their business.

The work we did for this firm is an example of technology consulting to enable business outcomes – not technology for technology’s sake. It’s much easier to make strategic technology investments when there is a sense of positive gain that is seen on the company’s bottom line. Where are you trying to take your business? How can technology be the enabler? We can help answers those questions, and then craft the plan and solutions to deliver on your desired outcome.

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